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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Main:
Gollum's ultimate "fate"?

CyberGhostface
Registered User


Oct 5 2012, 11:11pm

Post #1 of 11 (878 views)
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Gollum's ultimate "fate"? Can't Post

Tolkien wrote the following:

"to the ultimate judgement upon Gollum I would not care to enquire. This would be to investigate Goddes privitee’, as the Medievals said. Gollum was pitiable, but he ended in persistent wickedness, and the fact that this worked good was no credit to him. His marvellous courage and endurance, as great as Frodo and Sam’s or greater, being devoted to evil was portentous, but not honourable. I am afraid, whatever our beliefs, we have to face the fact that there are persons who yield to temptation, reject their chances of nobility or salvation, and appear to be ‘damnable’. Their ‘damnability’ is not measurable in the terms of the macrocosm (where it may work good). But we who are all ‘in the same boat’ must not usurp the judge. The domination of the Ring was much too strong for the mean soul of Sméagol. But he would have never had to endure it if he had not become a mean sort of thief before it

*Not quite ‘certainly’. The clumsiness in fidelity of Sam was ‘What finally pushed Gollum over the brink, when about to repent.

crossed his path. Need it ever have crossed his path? Need anything dangerous ever cross any of our paths? A kind of answer cd. be found in trying to imagine Gollum overcoming temptation. The story would have been quite different! By temporizing, not fixing the still not wholly corrupt Sméagol-will towards good in the debate in the slag hole, he weakened himself for the final chance when dawning love of Frodo was too easily withered by the jealousy of Sam before Shelob’s lair. After that he was lost."

Do you think therefore Gollum went to Hell or some variant or is Tolkien saying it's not up for him to decide?


(This post was edited by CyberGhostface on Oct 5 2012, 11:11pm)


Elizabeth
Valinor


Oct 6 2012, 3:59am

Post #2 of 11 (620 views)
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Yes. [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, it's not for Tolkien (or us) to decide. We can guess though: if the cosmology of Middle Earth included Hell, he probably went there. Not for certain, though, because there's always the possibility of repentance in freefall, and instant forgiveness. Mortals do not know how Eru operates.






Join us NOW in the Reading Room for detailed discussions of The Hobbit, July 9-Nov. 18!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


dijomaja
Lorien

Oct 6 2012, 11:14am

Post #3 of 11 (611 views)
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great question [In reply to] Can't Post

Dante put Judas in the worst circle of Hell and the name has become synonymous with "traitor" but Bob Dylan wrote, "I leave it for you / you'll have to decide / did Judas Iscariot / have God on his side?" Gollum and Judas made possible the will of their respective Almighties (you can imagine them saying, "...and this is the thanks I get."). I agree that this is one question to which we won't find an answer but, as Aragorn says, "We are not bound forever to the circles of this world and beyond lies more than memory".


elevorn
Lorien


Oct 8 2012, 1:52pm

Post #4 of 11 (549 views)
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True, however [In reply to] Can't Post

Judas had the opportunity to repent of his deed, however he hung himself instead. i do not doubt had he repented he would have been forgiven, after all peter turned his back on Jesus too and was still forgiven. I won't go into the theological debate of all that here. Gollum seemed to be simply too wrapped up in his own greed and desire to the ring to care for anything else. So it comes down to the choice of a divine power, and therefore not ours.



"clever hobbits to climb so high!"
Check out my writing www.jdstudios.wordpress.com


weaver
Half-elven


Oct 9 2012, 2:39am

Post #5 of 11 (547 views)
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well, first let me say... [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome! I think you are new(er) so glad you wandered in and with such a good questions.

You might enjoy spending some time in TORn's Reading Room where many questions like this are pondered!

I know, in Letters, Tolkien does reflect a bit on what would have happened to Gollum had he continued to respond to Frodo's kindness toward him, rather than react as he did to Sam's actions toward him. The gist of it was that Gollum would still have gone to his doom at Mt. Doom, but it might have been more in trying to save both Frodo and the Ring, so there would have been a more noble act offsetting his desire for the Ring. It's interesting to me that Tolkien did not give Gollum this "out", but rather went for the more tragic/bad ending for him.

I know this doesn't quite answer your question, but you got me thinking -- thanks!

Weaver



JWPlatt
Grey Havens


Oct 9 2012, 3:24am

Post #6 of 11 (581 views)
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Literary Cowardice II [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Tolkien wrote the following:

"to the ultimate judgement upon Gollum I would not care to enquire. This would be to investigate Goddes privitee’, as the Medievals said.


To understand my frustration with this attitude that the knowledge possessed by the author's fictional gods, angels, and the saved, is not proper for human beings to know, start by reading my post here:

http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=484455#484455

Unlike Elizabeth, I would certain call out Tolkien in the strongest terms on this matter because, like no one else who ever existed, or the gods, it certainly is for him to decide - of all people. Tolkien created the gods of his fiction so he damn well can speak for them if he chooses. And he did create an afterlife in his fiction, so he absolutely could have gone there to tell of such events. He is otherwise confusing his own fiction for reality, either literally or in actual fear that his own god is listening and would Himself be confused and call it blasphemy.


(This post was edited by Altaira on Oct 10 2012, 12:59am)


Mr. Arkenstone (isaac)
Grey Havens


Oct 9 2012, 2:55pm

Post #7 of 11 (588 views)
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Well if you have an artisticall inspiration... [In reply to] Can't Post

I´m a composer and manytimes I use to write things, sort of stories, and one thng I have found in common with many people who do the same, and have a genuine vibe for art, creating vibe I mean, sometimes you start composing or writing and nothing comes to mind, no matter how hard you try, but some times, you are not even writing or composing but some idea cames to mind, and the feeling I have seen in most of us is that , that idea came from a far place because the song, or the writing came with his full integrity

It is not a couple of notes, I´m talking about the notes, the lyrics and everything comes in a flash to your mind, and the same with writing...

So I guees that Tolkien is referig to (I´m pretty shure) that kind of feelings when treating his own mythology. The writer of Conan said that sometimes he woke up at night with an inmense necessity of write a very specific story about Conan, and that he felt a presence behind him, asi if a warrior of a forgoten age was threating him to write it , so the mortals of our age would know his adventures...

So many, many times, there is a part of a piece of art that I´m shure the author feels that is not part of his own creating, thought he es aware that he has apported his own vision, but sometimes things just happen...it´s part of the magic, at least for me, yes, there is a good proortion of many good things in creating, magic included

I can not guarantee his safety - understood...
Nor will I be responsible for his fate - Doh!


Elizabeth
Valinor


Oct 9 2012, 10:18pm

Post #8 of 11 (551 views)
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Fictional characters often wander off to unspecified fates. [In reply to] Can't Post

AFAIK there is no hard rule that says an author is required to answer all the questions posed in or by a work. Do we know what happened to Ishmael, the only survivor of the Pequod?

In this case, Eru is clearly a fictionalized version of God. Tolkien has chosen to endow him with the element of unknowability that he associated with the Catholic God. Hence, we do not know what becomes of any mortals after death, beyond some vague suggestions that their spirits may spend some time in the Halls of Mandos, and beyond there may be "more than memory." That's ok with me.






Join us NOW in the Reading Room for detailed discussions of The Hobbit, July 9-Nov. 18!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


JWPlatt
Grey Havens


Oct 9 2012, 10:51pm

Post #9 of 11 (537 views)
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Rationalizations [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
AFAIK there is no hard rule that says an author is required to answer all the questions posed in or by a work. Do we know what happened to Ishmael, the only survivor of the Pequod?

In this case, Eru is clearly a fictionalized version of God. Tolkien has chosen to endow him with the element of unknowability that he associated with the Catholic God. Hence, we do not know what becomes of any mortals after death, beyond some vague suggestions that their spirits may spend some time in the Halls of Mandos, and beyond there may be "more than memory." That's ok with me.


The point was not that Tolkien is required to do anything, but when he does say something, it shouldn't be a specious claim that assumes he does not have the right to know Eru and other characters that he created. He can certainly do as he wishes with his own story. And although Tolkien was not required to flesh out the story of Mandos, he could have if he wanted to. We do not know simply because the words are not there to tell us. And that is all.


(This post was edited by Altaira on Oct 10 2012, 1:01am)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Oct 10 2012, 8:49am

Post #10 of 11 (553 views)
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Maybe you're misinterpreting [In reply to] Can't Post

what Tolkien said in that Letter (about not caring to inquire about Gollum's fate). It's true Tolkien does sometimes like to phrase things in his Letters as if his fictional world is some kind of real history, and that can be misleading if you don't allow for it, but I think all he's saying in this sentence is that he doesn't think Gollum's ultimate fate is something he wants to spell out in black and white in his story. As in any real history (which is, after all, the impression he's trying to create in his fiction), some things must remain for ever unknown. That's a part of good storytelling, I think. Some things have to be left for readers to figure out as best they can for themselves.

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



dijomaja
Lorien

Oct 11 2012, 11:02am

Post #11 of 11 (674 views)
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don't forget... [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien referred to his writing as "sub-creation", implying a recognition of a higher level of creation to which he deferred. A "rationalization"? Not to me.

I suppose it boils down to how comfortable we are not "knowing" everything. I always liked the idea that even Tolkien wasn't sure who (or even what) Bombadil was.

 
 

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